The Oakland Raiders made headlines by taking Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrel with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and has since had to spend ample time explaining the thought process behind the team’s approach.
This was undoubtedly an eventful draft process for the Raiders. There had already been plenty of speculation regarding what Oakland planned to do with their bevy of first-rounders and head coach Jon Gruden managed to up the ante by indicating that it would be the ‘surprise’ of the draft.
The Raiders certainly managed to follow through on this notion by selecting Ferrell at No. 4. It is no secret that he was one of the more underrated prospects in the draft.
According to Matt Schneidman of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock explained just how high they were on Ferrell despite him projected to go in the middle of the first round:
“There were flashier players, players that other people may have had higher on their boards, teams may have had higher on their boards,” Mayock said. “On our board, it was he and (Nick) Bosa at that position, right next to each other. We knew he’d probably be there. Everybody else had all the big names up there.
Mayock went on to elaborate on the type of role they envision for Ferrell moving forward.
“Jon and I went in this morning and just kind of double-checked everything and he was our guy. He checked all the boxes. He’s gonna be a three-down player. He’s 267 pounds. He’s a captain. When you talk to the guys at Clemson, they all talk about this kid as being the cornerstone of that defense. Everything he does reminds me of what we want in the Raiders.”
There was certainly no shortage of defensive talent in this year’s draft. As a result, Ferrell may have gotten lost in the mix of all the highly-rated prospects that were slate to go in the first round.
It is clear that the Raiders were enamored with what the former Clemson product brings to the table in terms of stability and leadership. Regardless, it is safe to assume Mayock and Gruden will continue to take some criticism until Ferrell is able to justify the pick in the 2019 NFL season.